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Monday, 15 October, 2018

The first stage of emergency conservation and structural repair works are now underway at Her Majesty’s Ballarat.

Ballarat contractor AW Nicholson Pty Ltd has won a $3.3 million contract to begin the first stage of works for the 143-year-old performing arts landmark, which is listed on the Heritage Register.

The works include reinforcing and remediating the roof structural trusses, demolition and reconstruction of the stage, localised roof sheeting replacement, internal guttering, drainage works, damp remediation works, plaster repair works, and fire and lighting service works. 

Stage one is the first step in realising the greater vision for the building – to not only maintain but also to improve the quality, accessibility and functionality of ‘Her Maj’, bringing this 19th century theatre into the 21st century – giving it a new lease on life for generations to come. 

AW Nicholson, which also built Ballarat’s Mars Stadium, is expected to begin works within the next few weeks. The first stage of the project – the conservation works – are expected to be completed before the 2019 Royal South Street Eisteddfod. 

The emergency restorative works are jointly funded by a $2 million grant from the Living Heritage Program, provided by the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning via Heritage Victoria, and the City of Ballarat – which allocated $5.3 million in its 2018-2019 budget to help fund the works. 

In July, the City of Ballarat launched the Save Her Majesty’s Ballarat – The Time Is Now campaign. The campaign calls on state and federal governments to provide the additional $15 million required for the next stage of works to secure the future of Ballarat’s foremost performing arts venue, ensuring the theatre is safe and can once again open its doors to performers, patrons, staff and the wider community. 

The campaign has already resulted in the community rallying to save the historic gem. A significant number of people have visited savehermaj.com to register their support and others, including comedian Carl Barron, have left messages on the online Wall of Support. 

The Save Her Majesty’s Ballarat – The Time Is Now campaign will fund a range of major works to improve the quality, accessibility and functionality of the theatre, such as adding accessible toilets and accessible seating, upgrading the existing lifts at front and back of house, a new entrance and foyer works, including box office and refreshment bar, signage and display system. These works will also include improvements to the fly systems, dressing rooms and the Long Room. 

Her Majesty’s Ballarat will continue to present shows at alternate venues throughout the closure for restorative works. Details and tickets are available at hermaj.com